Ruth L. Berkelman, MD, has been appointed chair of the Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) beginning July 1, 2004.
Dr. Berkelman is the Rollins Professor and Director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. She joined the Rollins faculty after serving as Assistant Surgeon General of the United States from 1995 to 2000 and as Senior Advisor to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 1998 to 2000. Dr. Berkelman was deputy director of the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) from 1992 to 1997.
The American Society for Microbiology, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the largest single life science association, with 42,000 members worldwide. Its members work in education, research, industry and government in areas related to basic and applied research, the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, laboratory and diagnostic medicine, the environment and food and water safety.
The mission of the Public and Scientific Affairs Board parallels that of ASM, which is to advance the microbiological sciences and to promote the application of microbiologically related information for the improvement of human health, economic well being, environmental soundness and national security. The PSAB serves as an essential, public policy arm for the ASM, reaching out to inform and influence policies in government, the research, clinical, industrial and environmental sectors, and national and international scientific and educational organizations concerned with health, safety, environmental, and other policies involving the microbiological sciences.
The PSAB comprises the chairs of 12 mission-oriented committees, several cross-cutting topic task forces, and ad hoc expert committees that focus on issues related to biomedical research, public health, agricultural and food microbiology, environmental microbiology, ethical conduct, global health, biotechnology, laboratory practices, microbiological personnel, clinical microbiology, women and minority microbiologists, antimicrobial resistance, bioinformatics and biological weapons control. Prior to becoming chair of the PSAB, Dr. Berkelman chaired the Committee on Global Health.
Dr. Berkelman received her MD from Harvard Medical School and her bachelor's degree from Princeton University. Dr. Berkelman succeeds Dr. Gail H. Cassell, vice president, Scientific Affairs and Distinguished Lilly Research Scholar for Infectious Diseases, Lilly Research Laboratories, who completed three consecutive terms of three years as chair of the PSAB and served as president of ASM from 1993 to 1994.